Businesses of all sizes rely on their data to make many vital decisions. Many companies also store sensitive client information. In today’s digital age, they use computer networks and the cloud to store the majority of data.
Your digital data is one of your most valuable assets, and where there is value, there are opportunists ready to steal or corrupt it. Cybercriminals continually develop new ways to attack networks, and you must have effective security measures to combat them.
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and few minutes of cyber incident to ruin it.”
Quote from a discussion on X.com initiated by John Opdenakker
A single security incident can result in corrupted or stolen data, financial losses, decisions based on faulty data, and a loss of consumer trust. Hiring cyber security engineers helps to avoid these costly situations.
According to the FBI’s 2022 Internet Crimes Report, financial losses caused by cybercrime that year totaled $10.3 billion. These losses continue to grow each year. Microsoft’s 2023 Digital Defense Report states that 4,000 malicious attacks are blocked each second. Those alarming figures should make the need for qualified security engineers starkly apparent.
Depending on your company’s specifics, you might need network security engineers and cloud security engineers. Each of these skilled professionals deals with different types of potential threats.
Because having secure systems is so important, everyone wants to hire the most effective security professionals. These highly skilled individuals can take their pick of jobs, making competition to find the best ones fierce.This comprehensive guide tells you how to hire security engineers. It details what qualities and skills qualified candidates should possess, salary ranges, how to craft enticing job descriptions and telling interview questions, and the top 15 sites to source these individuals.
|Long hiring process
|Flexible terms and easy scaling without a long-term obligation
|No overhead, payroll, or benefits expenses
|Lower average salaries
|Minimal sourcing effort when using sites like Toptal
Hiring a Freelance Security Engineer
Whether you hire part-time, full-time, or freelance engineers, you have access to a much broader talent pool if you allow remote work. Choosing freelancers gives you several benefits, including:
- Increased flexibility and easier team scaling
- Skill sets that might be unavailable locally
- Less commitment
Hiring freelancers often allows significant cost savings due to potentially lower salaries, no overhead expenses, and no payroll taxes or benefits.
What Does a Security Engineer Do?
The level of security your business needs may vary depending on federal, state, industry, and company regulations. Your security solutions should provide protection levels that ensure you meet these guidelines. Security engineers are responsible for building, implementing, and monitoring these vital security systems.
An individual’s responsibilities often vary depending on the size of your organization, threat levels, and the number of members in your security team. Examples of typical duties include:
- Assessing security policies and security risks, and developing strategies to overcome vulnerabilities
- Automating improvements to your security system, utilizing up-to-date tools
- Conducting code audits
- Coordinating and identifying ways to improve responses to various security incidents at an organizational level
- Researching current cyber threats
“Security isn’t something you buy, it’s something you do, and it takes talented people to do it right.”
If you are still wondering why you should hire security engineers, consider what could happen if a malicious attack compromises your company. When you hire dedicated security engineers, they can help you avoid that risk.
Assessing systems to identify vulnerabilities plays a large part in IT security. Your security engineer will implement manual or automated vulnerability tests and decide how frequently they should occur.
Penetration testing is an effective way of exploring system vulnerabilities. Security engineers use the same methods, tools, and processes that hackers would use in an attempt to breach firewalls and other security precautions. Penetration tests may highlight the following:
- Employee errors that fail to store and protect data properly
- How far malicious hackers might be able to penetrate your systems and what types of damage they could cause
- Unexpected system weaknesses
If your security team can penetrate your system through a planned ethical cyber attack, criminal hackers can, too.
Network Security vs. Cloud Security
Traditionally, companies relied on on-premises servers, networks, and data storage. However, more and more organizations are migrating at least a portion of their computing functions to the cloud.
Network security engineers typically focus on your on-site data centers, network infrastructure, and device connections. Cloud security protects your data, infrastructure, applications, and services used in the cloud. Although most cloud service vendors provide security, you may need additional security solutions.
Depending on which options your company employs, you may need one team to oversee your network security systems and another for cloud security.
How To Hire Security Engineers
As with most business projects, hiring a security engineer requires planning. When drafting your plan, include all relevant details, such as your:
- Desired timeframes and position longevity
- Project description, goals, and scope
- Number of positions, along with desired and required skill sets
- Hiring method (part-time, full-time, remote, or freelance)
The modern workplace provides multiple tools that enable remote and freelance work. Video conferencing and other collaboration tools make working together easy, whether your team members are across the hall, on the other side of the country, or on another continent. Use the top 15 sites in this guide to find suitable candidates.
As you peruse job seeker profiles, you will notice different experience levels. Junior engineers may have the same technical skills as one at a senior level, but they do not have as many years of experience in the role.
Although you might prefer a senior security engineer to manage your team, you can consider junior and mid-level engineers for other positions.
Identifying the right skill sets that your team should have is a crucial element. If you are unsure, your sourcing site or the staffing firm you use may be able to help you define the qualifications. When you use Toptal, all you need to do is describe your project. After a discussion that ensures the Toptal team thoroughly understands your needs, they will source qualified candidates with minimal effort on your part.
Your roles may require additional skills, but remember that network and cloud security engineers have different focus areas. The ideal candidate for one position may lack vital skills for the other. Qualified job seekers will likely have similar technical skills, so you may weigh soft skills more heavily when deciding who to hire.
What Skills To Look for When Hiring Security Engineers
The duties of each of your open positions will help determine all the necessary security engineer skills to look for when you consider candidates. Some of the vital technical skills they should have are:
- Coding : Your engineer may need to write secure code to automate certain tasks.
- Networks: Your network security engineers should understand everything about networks, their vulnerabilities, and how to secure them. This includes knowledge of encryption, routing protocols, virtual private networks, and firewalls. With many employees working remotely, each endpoint also needs to be secure.
- Intrusion detection and prevention : Your security engineer needs to select tools and systems to detect intrusions.
- Databases : Companies typically use databases and other repositories to store data. Your security team should have a thorough understanding of your data storage systems.
- Cloud : Your cybersecurity team should have in-depth knowledge of cloud computing, storage, and best practices to protect your data and operations.
Criminals looking to steal or compromise your data come up with new attack vectors almost daily. Your security engineers need to stay on top of trends and tactics that hackers use and effective methods of thwarting them.
Possessing the right combination of technical and soft skills can make a candidate stand out from the rest. Look for skills such as:
- Fluent communication and active listening
- Critical thinking and problem-solving
- Working well under pressure
- Interpersonal skills
The right candidate should fit well with the rest of your team for maximum productivity.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire Security Engineers?
U.S. security engineers earn an average of $152,773 annually or $73 per hour. Yearly salaries range from $61,500 to $205,500, depending on location, skills, and experience. You can reduce expenses without sacrificing performance by utilizing freelancers.
Tips for Writing a Security Engineer Job Description
The demand for security engineers is growing at an incredible pace, and qualified tech talent can often afford to pick and choose which job they take. Because of this, you need to write a compelling job description to attract top candidates.
To encourage them to work for you, include some of your company’s highlights, accomplishments, projects, and culture in your security engineer job description. Be sure to give the relevant details as well:
- Required and desired skills and qualifications
- Project and hiring timelines
- Hiring method
Be truthful, but make the position sound desirable.
Common Interview Questions To Ask When You Are Looking To Hire a Security Engineer
You probably will not interview applicants who lack any crucial technical skills, so your hiring decision may come down to who has the best interpersonal skills. Laws require inclusivity and diversity, so be consistent with your interview questions and scoring model.
Ask a few technical questions, such as:
- What does CIA mean in cybersecurity? Confidentiality, integrity, and availability
- How would you combat cross-site scripting?: Validate server and client data to identify and eliminate malicious scripts in web apps
Interviews are your opportunity to assess soft skills. Pay attention to how each candidate answers your questions along with correct responses.
You can gain valuable insights by posing situational questions and intentionally omitting vital details. Look for:
- Attention to detail : Failing to ask for clarifications is not a good sign.
- Problem-solving abilities : Pay attention to the candidate's thought processes and how they approach challenges.
- Communication : Verify that the applicant understands language nuances and answers clearly.
- Confidence : Hesitant answers probably mean you should keep looking.
Selecting the perfect candidate is challenging, even with thorough interviews. Talent-matching sites typically allow a trial period so you can evaluate new team members without making a long-term commitment.
How To Find Freelance Security Engineers for Hire
You can use job boards, freelance marketplaces, your professional network, or talent-matching sites to find candidates with expertise in network security. When making your sourcing choice, consider the following:
- Desired hiring speed
- Your required level of involvement
- How much experience these resources have locating top tech talent
- How many team members you need
- The availability of necessary skill sets in the talent pool
With Toptal, you can hire qualified candidates quickly and easily scale teams as needed. You benefit from a no-risk, free trial period to evaluate each security engineer. Toptal’s talent pool is global, so candidates with niche skill sets are likely available. Toptal pre-vets each engineer, so there is minimal work from your end.Using this guide's top 15 sites and resources, you can create strategic hiring practices that minimize your effort while finding the best potential candidates.
Hiring Security Engineers FAQs
- Where Can I Hire Security Engineers?
- Toptal, Dice, Upwork, Freelancer, and Revelo can all help you find security engineers for hire. Look into the other sites listed in this guide for additional alternatives.
- Why Should You Hire a Security Engineer?
- Your company’s IT security is paramount. You cannot afford to assume that off-the-shelf fixes will adequately address security issues, especially for enterprise-level companies or those that routinely handle sensitive information. A competent and well-qualified security engineer can develop strategies to protect your assets.
- Are Security Engineers in Demand?
The amount of data companies retain continues to grow, and the need to protect it is keeping pace. Security engineers are some of the most sought-after roles in the workplace, with a projected growth of 32% between 2022 and 2032.